Can't Mix the Sun with the Earth
Mashing boiled apples with peaches, he says
there's no better way to mix the sun
with the earth. This baked dough boy, sugar
falls in lumps from his body to the floor
as he shuffles around, gathering spices,
mixing basins, ingredients of comfort.
He sings an apple pie without cheese
is like a kiss without a squeeze—suddenly
I know he’s right, and every other hot oven
has been baking all wrong, all these years.
The same way painters can't mix acrylics
with tin foil to get the orange, the taupe
shaded right, the same way relocating
to Florida has never really cured anyone
of melancholia or hysteria, Barry's Florida Water
bottles broken all along the coquina streets…
The advertisements said this state cures land-
locked syndrome, but there's actually nothing
worse for you: standing on a clinging shore,
afraid to get your blouse wet, afraid
of the heaviness of cloth, the truth of wet salt—
there is nowhere else to go without a paddle.
There's one path of sunken footprints you
came from, soft cupped hands, not feet.
So you follow them in reverse, although nothing
else is also in reverse, unfortunate paths. This
must have been what drove Joe Bolton: sinking
crusted fingers, smell of salt stuck to every
thing. His dried-out veins and constant sting
of open wounds. Sulfur water can only cleanse
black water back to black. It can cure longing
for nutmeg or any wish to escape sink holes,
a common feature of the landscape with lost villas,
cars, and bodies included. There's one humid
balloon in the sky, it hovers the haunted Atlantic
breezes, won't carry me, won’t carry Joe away.